Notary Public in the USA vs. "Notar" in Austria

Alexander Gugler

Alexander Gugler

COO/CFO | Co-Founder
Notary Public in the USA

© Photo credit: Alexander Schindler

Austrian notaries are - in contrast to a notary public in the USA - top lawyers. They practice a challenging and demanding profession, which is one of the core legal professions and is accordingly strictly regulated. Only the best university graduates receive offers for positions as notary public candidates and can pursue the career of a notary public. Those who decide to do so then undergo several years of additional training. Qualified lawyers will therefore be hard to find. So what are the differences between Notary Public vs. Notar.

The training to become a "Notary Public" in the legal system of the USA is completely different

The notary public profession in the USA differs significantly from that in Austria and continental Europe. In terms of training, qualifications, powers and competence, the notary public is not even remotely comparable with notaries of the Austrian or continental European type. As a rule, a notary public is not even a lawyer. Many notary publics perform their work as a sideline to their actual professions (for example, as real estate agents). Also, some employees of post offices, UPS stores or copy stores have the Notary Public "license" and are offered there as an additional service (see e.g. here).

The role of notaries is also completely different in the USA.

The notary public also fulfils completely different tasks than Austrian and continental European notary's offices (see also here). The task of a notary public is limited to the mere certification of documents or the confirmation of a person's identity. However, a notary public does not give legal advice or certify legal transactions. A notary public is even expressly prohibited from giving a legal opinion or even legal advice. In Austria, on the other hand, independent and neutral legal advice - as well as the drawing up of public deeds - is one of the central tasks of the notary's office.

In this respect, it is not surprising that it is completely unusual in the USA to entrust a notary public with funds in third-party or escrow accounts. The collection and forwarding of payments is not part of a notary public's duties in the USA and he does not have the corresponding position of trust.

A notary public is fundamentally different from the Austrian notarial profession

As a result, a notary public in the USA - despite superficial similarities - cannot be compared with Austrian or continental European notaries. As a rule of thumb, the similarities end where the notary's legal training or position of trust confers special responsibility. Ultimately, this is what fundamentally distinguishes the profession of notary public in the USA from the Austrian or continental European notary profession.

More information about Notary Public in the USA: Link

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